USK, Wash. (AP) — A paper mill in the small town of Usk has indefinitely shut down, dealing a major blow to the economy of rural Pend Oreille County.
The Ponderay Newsprint Co. mill, which opened in late 1989, employed more than 130 people and supplied newsprint for publications in the Midwest, along the West Coast, and in Asia and South America.
The Spokesman-Review says Ponderay Newsprint President Myron Johnson didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.
Colin Willenbrock, general manager of the Pend Oreille Public Utility District, said the mill recently paused operations for two weeks and had been expected to reopen Saturday, but workers were told to stay home.
Local officials have anticipated the closure of the mill for years, and concerns have intensified as demand for newsprint has fallen with rapidly declining newspaper circulation.